Position to solve budget crisis “locally” hurts New Yorkers
October 23, 2012 — As the Empire Center noted last week, desperate incumbents often resort to “historical revisionism” - and once again career politician Sandy Galef fits the mold. Mrs. Galef has consistently suggested this election season that budget shortfall problems can be solved “locally,” without true mandate relief.
Assembly Candidate Kim Izzarelli calls it as she sees it: “We need to repeal the Triborough Amendment and strengthen local governments through changes to our binding interest arbitration ‘Ability to Pay’ requirements in the next legislative session. We are facing many ‘local’ fiscal disasters that are out of the the control of local governments and school district boards.”
Izzarelli, whose grassroots campaign has achieved statewide recognition by fiscal leaders, such as former GOP NYS Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, as well as budget advocacy groups, such as The Empire Center for New York State Policy, says that without these critical areas of mandate relief, 217 of the state’s school districts may potentially find themselves ‘fiscally insolvent’ by 2015. Additionally, a number of municipalities will be forced into paying arbitration awards to collective bargaining groups that are “unsustainable within our current tax base structure without inducing failure.”
“I’ve brought the specifics of true mandate into the limelight through my campaign and my opponent, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has done everything she can to avoid tackling the real issue. Unfortunately, the leadership of her party is so closely aligned and funded by special interest groups, they will maintain their stance until New York’s frail municipalities fail, financially,” says Izzarelli. “I can’t stand by and watch this happen.”
Izzarelli counters Galef’s assertion that budget problems can be worked out locally, stating, “School districts and municipalities are using fund balance, or rainy day accounts, to cover operating budget shortfalls. Our true problem is that we can no longer afford to provide employer-paid healthcare to government employees and retirees, along with making ongoing pension contributions, and have enough money left over to effectively operate schools, municipalities and counties. Something has to change here.”
“New York continues to rank at or near the bottom of every business and new commerce index out there,” Izzarelli continued. “We have to show that we are serious about getting our financial house in order, beginning with burdensome unfunded mandates that drive up our local property tax bills and discourage investment in our great state. Structural changes will be needed to keep our bond ratings.”
Kim Izzarelli is a single mother of two who spent fifteen years in the private financial sector, most recently as an internal auditor for a large private pension fund.